James Joseph Brown, Jr. (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006), commonly referred to as "The Godfather of Soul", the "King of Funk", and "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business", was an American entertainer. He is recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music and was renowned for his vocals and feverish dancing.
As a prolific singer, songwriter and bandleader, Brown was a pivotal force in the music industry. He left his mark on numerous artists. Brown's music also left its mark on the rhythms of African popular music, such as afrobeat, jùjú and mbalax, and provided a template for go-go music.
Brown began his professional music career in 1953 and rose to fame during the late 1950s and early 1960s on the strength of his thrilling live performances and string of smash hits. In spite of various personal problems and setbacks he continued to score hits in every decade through the 1980s. In addition to his acclaim in music, Brown was a presence in American political affairs during the 1960s and 1970s, noted especially for his activism on behalf of fellow African Americans and the poor. During the early 1980s, Brown's music helped to shape the rhythms of early hip-hop music, with numerous groups looping or sampling his funk grooves and turning them into what became hip hop classics and the foundations of the music genre.
Brown was recognized by numerous titles, including Soul Brother Number One, Sex Machine, Mr. Dynamite, The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Minister of The New New Super Heavy Funk, Mr. Please Please Please Please Her, The Boss and foremost the Godfather of Soul.
Brown and his family lived in extreme poverty. When Brown was two years old, his parents separated after his mother decided to leave his father for another man. After his mother left the family, Brown continued to live with his father and his live-in girlfriends until he was six years old. After that time, Brown and his father moved to Augusta, Georgia, and his father sent him to live with an aunt who ran a house of prostitution. Even though Brown lived with relatives, he spent long stretches of time on his own, hanging out on the streets and hustling to get by. Brown managed to stay in school until he dropped out in the seventh grade.
During his childhood, Brown earned money shining shoes, sweeping out stores, selling and trading in old stamps, washing cars and dishes and singing in talent contests. Brown also performed buck dances for change to entertain troops from Camp Gordon during the start of World War II as their convoys traveled over a canal bridge near his aunt's house. Between earning money from these adventures, Brown taught himself to play a harmonica given to him by his father, and he learned to play some guitar from Tampa Red (who was "dating" one of the girls from his aunt's house), in addition to learning to play piano and drums from others. Brown was inspired to become an entertainer after watching Louis Jordan, a popular jazz and R&B performer during the 1940s, and His Tympany Five in a short film performing "Caldonia".
As an adult, Brown legally changed his name to remove the "Jr." designation. In his spare time, Brown spent time practicing his various skills in Augusta-area halls and committing petty crimes. At the age of sixteen, he was convicted of armed robbery and sent to a juvenile detention center upstate in Toccoa in 1948.
Brown, who was by then nicknamed "Music Box", formed a gospel quartet while he was incarcerated at the detention center. The group made their own instruments for their performances, which included a paper-and-comb "harmonica", a "drum set" made of lard tins and a "bass" made of a broomstick and washtub. Brown's quartet performed for the local prison crowd and performed shows for other nearby prisons.
While Brown was in reform school, he became acquainted with Bobby Byrd, who first saw Brown perform in prison as Byrd watched and admired Brown's ability to sing and perform. Byrd's family helped Brown secure an early release after serving only three years of his sentence. The authorities back then agreed to release Brown on the condition that he (Brown) would try to get a job and not return to Augusta or Richmond County. After stints as a boxer and baseball pitcher in semi-professional baseball (a career move ended by a leg injury), Brown turned his energy toward music.
The group's first recording was the single "Please, Please, Please" (1956). The single was a #5 R&B hit, selling over a million copies. Nine subsequent singles released by The Flames failed to live up to the success of their debut, and group was in danger of being dropped by King Records.
Brown's early recordings were fairly straightforward gospel-inspired R&B compositions, heavily influenced by the work of contemporary musicians such as Ray Charles and Little Richard. Little Richard's relations with Brown were particularly significant in Brown's development as a musician and showman. Brown once called Richard his idol, and credited Richard's saxophone-studded mid-1950s road band, The Upsetters, with being the first to put the funk in the rock and roll beat. When Richard left pop music in 1957 to become a preacher, Brown filled out Richard's remaining tour dates in his place. Several former members of Little Richard's backup band joined Brown's group as a consequence of Richard's exit from the pop music scene.
Brown's group returned to the charts to stay in 1958 with the #1 R&B hit "Try Me". This hit record was the best-selling R&B single of the year, becoming the first of 17 chart-topping R&B singles by Brown over the next two decades. By the time "Try Me" was released on record, the group's billing was changed to James Brown and The Famous Flames. "The Famous Flames" was a vocal group, not a backing band contrary to popular belief.
In 1959, Brown and The Famous Flames moved from the Federal Records subsidiary to King Records, the parent label. Brown began to have recurring conflicts with King Records president Syd Nathan over repertoire and other matters. In one notable instance, Brown recorded the 1960 Top Ten R&B hit "(Do the) Mashed Potatoes" on Dade Records, owned by Henry Stone, under the pseudonym "Nat Kendrick & The Swans" because Nathan refused to allow him to record it for King.
Brown followed the success of Live at the Apollo with a string of singles that, along with the work of Allen Toussaint in New Orleans, essentially defined the foundation of funk music. Driven by the success of Live at the Apollo and the failure of King Records to expand record promotion beyond the "black" market, James Brown and fellow Famous Flame Bobby Byrd formed a production company, Fair Deal, to promote sales of Brown's record releases to white audiences. In this arrangement, Smash Records, a subsidiary of Mercury Records, was used as a vehicle to distribute Brown's music. Smash released his 1964 hit "Out of Sight", which reached #24 on the pop charts and pointed the way to his later funk hits. Its release also triggered a legal battle between Smash and King that resulted in a one year ban on the release of Brown's vocal recordings.
During the mid-1960s, two of Brown's signature tunes "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)", both from 1965, were his first Top 10 pop hits, as well as major #1 R&B hits, with each remaining the top-selling singles in black venues for over a month. In 1966, Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" won the Grammy for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording (an award last given in 1968). Brown's national profile was boosted further that year by appearances in the movie Ski Party and the concert film The T.A.M.I. Show, in which he and The Famous Flames (Bobby Byrd, Bobby Bennett and "Baby Lloyd" Stallworth) upstaged The Rolling Stones. In his concert repertoire and on record, Brown mingled his innovative rhythmic essays with Broadway show tunes and ballads, such as his hit "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" (1966).
Changes in Brown's style that started with "Cold Sweat" also established the musical foundation for Brown's later hits, such as "I Got the Feelin'" (1968) and "Mother Popcorn" (1969). By this time Brown's vocals frequently took the form of a kind of rhythmic declamation, not quite sung but not quite spoken, that only intermittently featured traces of pitch or melody. This would become a major influence on the techniques of rapping, which would come to maturity along with hip hop music in the coming decades.
In November 1967 James Brown purchased radio station WGYW in Knoxville, Tennessee for a reported $75,000, according to the January 20, 1968 Record World magazine. The call letters were changed to WJBE reflecting his initials. WJBE began on January 15, 1968 and broadcast a Rhythm & Blues format. The station slogan was "WJBE 1430 Raw Soul". At the time it was mentioned "Brown has also branched out into real estate and music publishing in recent months".
Brown's recordings influenced musicians across the industry, most notably Sly and his Family Stone, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Booker T. & the M.G.'s and soul shouters like Edwin Starr, Temptations David Ruffin, and Dennis Edwards. A then-prepubescent Michael Jackson took Brown's shouts and dancing into the pop mainstream as the lead singer of Motown's The Jackson 5. Those same tracks were later resurrected by countless hip-hop musicians from the 1970s onward. As a result, James Brown remains to this day the world's most sampled recording artist, with "Funky Drummer" itself becoming the most sampled individual piece of music.
Brown's band during this period employed musicians and arrangers who had come up through the jazz tradition. He was noted for his ability as a bandleader and songwriter to blend the simplicity and drive of R&B with the rhythmic complexity and precision of jazz. Trumpeter Lewis Hamlin and saxophonist/keyboardist Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis (the successor to previous bandleader Nat Jones) led the band. Guitarist Jimmy Nolen provided percussive, deceptively simple riffs for each song, and Maceo Parker's prominent saxophone solos provided a focal point for many performances. Other members of Brown's band included stalwart singer and sideman Bobby Byrd, drummers John "Jabo" Starks, Clyde Stubblefield and Melvin Parker (Maceo's brother), saxophonist St. Clair Pinckney, trombonist Fred Wesley, guitarist Alphonso "Country" Kellum and bassist Bernard Odum.
During this period, Brown's music empire also expanded along with his influence on the music scene. As Brown's music empire grew, his desire for financial and artistic independence grew as well. Brown bought radio stations during the late 1960s, including radio station WRDW in Augusta, Georgia where he shined shoes as a boy. Brown also branched out to make several recordings with musicians outside his own band. He recorded Gettin' Down To It (1969) and Soul on Top (1970), two albums consisting mostly of romantic ballads and jazz standards, with the Dee Felice Trio and the Louie Bellson Orchestra respectively. He recorded a number of tracks with the Dapps, a white Cincinnati bar band, including the hit "I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)". He also released three albums of Christmas music with his own band.
In 1971, Brown began recording for Polydor Records which also took over distribution of Brown's King Records catalog. Many of his sidemen and supporting players, such as Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s, Bobby Byrd, Lyn Collins, Vicki Anderson and Hank Ballard, released records on the People label, an imprint founded by Brown that was purchased by Polydor as part of Brown's new contract. The recordings on the People label, almost all of which were produced by Brown himself, exemplified his "house style". Songs such as "I Know You Got Soul" by Bobby Byrd, "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins and "Doing It to Death" by Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s are considered as much a part of Brown's recorded legacy as the recordings released under his own name.
In 1973, Brown provided the score for the blaxploitation film Black Caesar. In 1974, he toured Africa and performed in Zaire as part of the buildup to the Rumble in the Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Admirers of Brown's music, including Miles Davis and other jazz musicians, began to cite Brown as a major influence on their own styles. However, Brown, like others who were influenced by his music, also "borrowed" from other musicians. His 1976 single "Hot" (I Need To Be Loved, Loved, Loved, Loved)" (R&B #31) borrowed the main riff from "Fame" by David Bowie, not the other way around as was often believed. The riff was provided to "Fame" co-writers John Lennon and Bowie by guitarist Carlos Alomar.
Brown's Polydor recordings during the 1970s exemplified his innovations from the previous twenty years. Compositions such as "The Payback" (1973), "Papa Don't Take No Mess", "Stoned to the Bone", and "Funky President (People It's Bad)" (1974), and "Get Up Offa That Thing" (1976) were among his most noted recordings during this time.
Brown's contract with Polydor expired in 1981, and his recording and touring schedule was somewhat reduced. Despite these events, Brown experienced something of a resurgence during the 1980s, effectively crossing over to a broader, more mainstream audience. He appeared in the feature films The Blues Brothers, Doctor Detroit and Rocky IV, as well as guest starring in the Miami Vice episode "Missing Hours" (1988). He also recorded Gravity, a modestly popular crossover album released on his new host label Scotti Bros., and the top 10 hit 1985 single "Living in America", which was featured prominently in the Rocky IV film and soundtrack. Brown performed the song in the film at Apollo Creed's final fight, shot in the Ziegfeld Room at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and was credited as "The Godfather of Soul". In 1987, Brown won the Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Living in America". Acknowledging his influence on modern hip-hop and R&B music, Brown collaborated with hip-hop artist Afrika Bambaataa on the single "Unity".
In 1988, Brown worked with the production team Full Force on the hip-hop influenced album I'm Real, which spawned a #5 R&B hit single, "Static". Meanwhile, the drum break from the second version of the original 1969 hit "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose" (the recording included on the compilation album In the Jungle Groove) became so popular at hip hop dance parties (especially for breakdance) during the late 1970s and early 1980s that hip hop founding father Kurtis Blow called the song "the national anthem of hip hop".
Although Brown had various run-ins with the law, he continued to perform and record regularly, and he also made appearances in television shows and films, such as Blues Brothers 2000, and sporting events, such as his 2000 appearance at the World Championship Wrestling pay-per-view event SuperBrawl X. In Brown's appearance at the SuperBrawl X event, he danced alongside wrestler Ernest "The Cat" Miller, whose character was based on Brown, during his in ring skit with The Maestro. Brown was featured in Tony Scott's 2001 short film, Beat the Devil, alongside Clive Owen, Gary Oldman, Danny Trejo and Marilyn Manson. Brown also made a cameo appearance in the 2002 Jackie Chan film The Tuxedo, in which Chan was required to finish Brown's act after Brown was accidentally knocked out by Chan.
Brown appeared at Edinburgh 50,000 - The Final Push, the final Live 8 concert on July 6, 2005, where he performed a duet with British pop star Will Young on "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag". He also performed a duet with another British pop star, Joss Stone, a week earlier on the United Kingdom chat show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. Before his death, Brown was scheduled to perform a duet with singer Annie Lennox on the song "Vengeance" for her new album Venus, scheduled for release in early 2007. In 2006, Brown continued his "Seven Decades Of Funk World Tour", his last concert tour where he performed all over the world. His last shows were greeted with positive reviews, and one of his final concert appearances at the Irish Oxegen festival in Punchestown in 2006 was performed for a record crowd of 80,000 people. Brown's last televised appearance was at his induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame in November 2006.
|So now ladies and gentlemen it is star time, are you ready for star time? Thank you and thank you very kindly. It is indeed a great pleasure to present to you at this particular time, national and international[ly] known as the hardest working man in show business, the men that sing "I'll Go Crazy" ... "Try Me" ... "You've Got the Power" ... "Think" ... "If You Want Me" ... "I Don't Mind" ... "Bewildered" ...the million dollar seller, "Lost Someone" ... the very latest release, "Night Train" ... let's everybody "Shout and Shimmy" ... Mr. Dynamite, the amazing Mr. Please Please himself, the star of the show, James Brown and The Famous Flames|
Among the MCs who worked with Brown and his revue through the years, Brown's most famous MC was Danny Ray, who appeared on stage with him for over 30 years.
A James Brown concert typically included a performance by a featured vocalist, such as Vicki Anderson or Marva Whitney, and an instrumental feature for the band, which sometimes served as the opening act for the show. Although Brown released many live albums, Say It Live & Loud: Live in Dallas 08.26.68, released by Polydor in 1998, was one of only a few audio recordings that captured a performance of the James Brown Revue from beginning to end.
This act was often repeated several times in succession. Brown's cape routine was inspired by a similar routine used by the professional wrestler Gorgeous George. His cape routine has also been alleged to have its origin in the Jim Crow South. James and the band were not allowed to use the dressing rooms, and often had to change clothes outside. In the wintertime he would wear a robe or cape to stay warm, and then upon entering the stage, he would toss aside the garment.
|You gotta be on time. You gotta have your uniform. Your stuff's got to be intact. You gotta have the bow tie. You got to have it. You can't come up without the bow tie. You cannot come up without a cummerbund ... [The] patent leather shoes we were wearing at the time gotta be greased. You just gotta have this stuff. This is what [Brown expects] ... [Brown] bought the costumes. He bought the shoes. And if for some reason [the band member decided] to leave the group, [Brown told the person to] please leave my uniforms ....|
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, James Brown was renowned for his work with social activism. In 1966, he released the single "Don't Be a Drop-Out" as a lesson to young students who had thoughts of dropping out. He later made public speeches in front of dozens of children and advocated the importance of education in school. In 1967, he issued a pro-American single, "America is My Home", which was a "rap" about how he felt people, particularly in the African-American community, were neglecting the country that he said "could give (them) opportunities" explaining how at one time he was shining shoes and the next, he was greeting the President of the United States as he did when President Lyndon B. Johnson thanked him for donating money to school drop-out prevention programs.
A year later, he performed in front of a televised audience in Boston after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Brown is often given credit for preventing rioting with the performance. However, it was Mayor Kevin White who strongly restrained the Boston Police from cracking down on minor violence and protests after the assassination, and Boston religious and community leaders who worked to keep tempers from flaring. Also, White arranged to have the performance broadcast multiple times on Boston's public television station, WGBH, thus keeping many potential rioters off the streets, watching the concert for free. Brown demanded $60,000 for "gate" fees (money he thought would be lost from ticket sales on account of the concert being broadcast for free), and then threatened to go public about the secret arrangement when the city balked at paying up after the concert, news of which would have been a political death-blow to White, and possibly sparked riots on its own. White successfully lobbied the behind-the-scenes power-brokering group known as "The Vault" to come up with money for Brown's gate fee and other liberal social programs; The Vault contributed $100,000 to such programs, and Brown received $15,000 from them via the city. White persuaded management at the Boston Garden to give up their share of receipts to make up the difference.
Afterwards, President Johnson advised Brown to visit Washington, D.C. to greet inner-city residents there performing at a benefit concert there and expressed the notion that violence "wasn't the way to go". Many in the black community felt that Brown was speaking out to them more than some major leaders in the country, a sentiment that was strengthened with the release of his groundbreaking landmark single, "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud".
Brown continued performing benefit concerts for various civil rights organizations including Jesse Jackson's PUSH and The Black Panther Party's Breakfast program throughout the early-1970s. Brown also continued to release socially-conscious singles such as "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door, I'll Get It Myself)" (1969), "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" (1971), "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing" (1972), "King Heroin" (1974), "Funky President (People It's Bad)" (1974) and "Reality" (1975). The week before his death, Brown took time to give Christmas presents to an orphanage in Atlanta.
According to a 22 August 2007 article published in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, DNA tests indicate that Brown also fathered at least three illegitimate children. The only one of them who has been identified is LaRhonda Pettit (born 1962), a retired air stewardess and teacher who lives in Houston.
According to Dallas, Brown was angry and hurt that Hynie concealed her prior marriage from him, and that Brown moved to file for annulment from Hynie. Dallas added that, although Hynie's marriage to Javed Ahmed was annulled after she married James Brown, the Brown-Hynie marriage was not valid under South Carolina law because Brown and Hynie did not remarry after the annulment. In August 2003, Brown took out a full-page public notice in Variety Magazine featuring Hynie, James II and himself on vacation at Disney World to announce that he and Hynie were going their separate ways.
In 2003, Brown was pardoned for past crimes that he was convicted of committing in South Carolina. In January 2005, a woman named Jacque Hollander filed a lawsuit against James Brown, which stemmed from an alleged 1988 forcible rape. When the case was initially heard before a judge in 2002, Hollander's claims against Brown were dismissed by the court as the limitations period for filing the suit had expired. Hollander claimed that stress from the alleged assault later caused her to contract Grave's Disease, a thyroid condition. Hollander claimed that the incident took place in South Carolina while she was employed by Brown as a publicist.
Hollander alleged that, during her ride in a van with Brown, Brown pulled over to the side of the road and sexually assaulted her while he threatened her with a shotgun. In her case against Brown, Hollander entered as evidence a DNA sample and a polygraph result, but the evidence was not considered due to the limitations defense. Hollander later attempted to bring her case before the Supreme Court but nothing became of her complaint.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Brown was repeatedly arrested for domestic violence. Adrienne Rodriguez, his third wife, had him arrested four times between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s on charges of assault. In January 2004, Brown was arrested in South Carolina on a domestic violence charge after Tomi Rae Hynie accused him of pushing her to the floor during an argument at their home, where she suffered scratches and bruises to her right arm and hip. Later that year in June 2004, Brown pleaded no contest to the domestic violence incident, but served no jail time. Instead, Brown was required to forfeit a US$1,087 bond as punishment.
On December 23, 2006, James Brown, in ill health, showed up at his dentist's office in Atlanta, Georgia several hours later than his appointment for dental implant work. During that visit, Brown's dentist observed that Brown looked "very bad ... weak and dazed." Instead of performing the dental work, the dentist advised Brown to see a doctor right away about his medical condition.
Brown checked in at the Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on December 24, 2006 for a medical evaluation of his condition, and he was admitted to the hospital for observation and treatment. According to Charles Bobbit, Brown's longtime personal manager and friend, Brown had been sick and suffering with a noisy cough since he returned from a November trip to Europe. Bobbit also added that it was characteristic of Brown to never tell or complain to anyone that he was sick, and that Brown frequently performed during illness. Although Brown had to cancel upcoming shows in Waterbury, Connecticut and Englewood, New Jersey, Brown was confident that the doctor would discharge him from the hospital in time to perform the New Year's Eve shows.
For the New Year's celebrations, Brown was scheduled to perform at the Count Basie Theatre in New Jersey and at the B.B. King Blues Club in New York, in addition to performing a song live on CNN for the Anderson Cooper New Year's Eve special. However, Brown remained hospitalized, and his medical condition worsened throughout that day.
On December 25, 2006, Brown died at approximately 1:45 a.m.(06:45 UTC) from congestive heart failure resulting from complications of pneumonia, with his agent Frank Copsidas and his friend Charles Bobbit at his bedside. According to Bobbit, Brown uttered "I'm going away tonight", and then Brown took three long, quiet breaths and closed his eyes. He would never open them again.
Brown's public and private memorial ceremonies were elaborate, complete with costume changes for Brown and videos featuring him in concert performances. Brown's body, which was placed in a gold casket, was driven through the streets of New York to the Apollo Theater in a white, glass-encased horse-drawn carriage. In Augusta, Georgia, the procession for Brown's public memorial visited Brown's statue as the procession made its way to the James Brown Arena. During the public memorial at the James Brown Arena, nachos and pretzels were served to mourners, as a video showed Brown's last performance in Augusta, Georgia and the Ray Charles version of "Georgia On My Mind" played soulfully in the background. Brown's last backup band, The Soul Generals, also played the music of Brown's hits during the memorial service at the James Brown Arena. The group was joined by Bootsy Collins on bass, with MC Hammer performing a dance in James Brown style.
During the reading of Brown's will on January 11, 2007, Thurmond revealed that Brown's six adult living children (Terry Brown, Larry Brown, Daryl Brown, Yamma Brown Lumar, Deanna Brown Thomas and Venisha Brown) were named in the will. Hynie and James III were not mentioned in the will as parties who could inherit Brown's property. Brown's will was signed ten months before James III was born and more than a year before Brown's marriage to Tomi Rae Hynie. Like Brown's will, his irrevocable trust also did not mention Hynie and James III as recipients of Brown's property. The irrevocable trust was established and had not been amended since the birth of James III.
On January 24, 2007, Brown's children filed a lawsuit against the personal representatives of Brown's estate. In their petition, Brown's children asked the court to remove the personal representatives of Brown's estate (including Brown's attorney and estate's trustee, Albert "Buddy" Dallas) and appoint a special administrator because of perceived impropriety and alleged mismanagement of Brown's assets. To challenge the validity of the will and irrevocable trust, Hynie also filed a lawsuit against Brown's estate on January 31, 2007. In her lawsuit against Brown's estate, Hynie asked the court to recognize her as Brown's widow, and she also asked the court to appoint a special administrator for the estate.
According to Brown's family, Brown's body will remain buried at the temporary site while a public mausoleum is built for him and a decision has been made for Brown's final resting place. To turn Brown's estate into a visitor attraction, Brown's family plans to consult with the family of Elvis Presley for guidance about converting the estate into an attraction similar to Graceland.
Dallas, Brown's long time attorney and one of the trustees for Brown's estate, did not attend the private service for the temporary burial. He expressed his disapproval and disappointment with the temporary burial arrangement with the comment "Mr. Brown's not deserving of anyone's backyard." According to Dallas, the trustees for Brown's estate "had made arrangements for Brown to be laid to rest at no cost at a 'very prominent memorial garden in Augusta.'
During his long career, James Brown received several prestigious music industry awards and honors. In 1983, Brown was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. In addition, Brown was named as one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural induction dinner in New York on January 23, 1986. However, the members of his original vocal group, The Famous Flames,Bobby Byrd, Johnny Terry, Bobby Bennett, and Lloyd Stallworth, were not. On February 25, 1992, Brown was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 34th annual Grammy Awards. Exactly a year later, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 4th annual Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards. A ceremony was held for Brown on January 10, 1997 to honor him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On June 15, 2000, Brown was honored as an inductee for the New York Songwriters Hall of Fame. On November 14, 2006, Brown was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, and he was one of several inductees who performed at the ceremony. In recognition of his accomplishments as an entertainer, Brown was a recipient of Kennedy Center Honors on December 7, 2003. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked James Brown as #7 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Brown was also honored in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia for his philanthropy and civic activities. On November 20, 1993, Mayor Charles DeVaney of Augusta held a ceremony to dedicate a section of 9th Street between Broad and Twiggs Streets, renamed "James Brown Boulevard", in the entertainer's honor. On May 6, 2005, as a 72nd birthday present for Brown, the City of Augusta unveiled a life-sized bronze James Brown Statue on Broad Street. The statue was to have been dedicated a year earlier, but the ceremony was put on hold because of a domestic abuse charge that Brown faced at the time. On August 22, 2006, the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority voted to rename the city's civic center the James Brown Arena, and James Brown attended a ceremony for the unveiling of the namesake center on October 15, 2006.
On December 30, 2006 during the public memorial service at the James Brown Arena, Dr. Shirley A.R. Lewis, president of Paine College, a historically black college in Augusta, Georgia, bestowed posthumously upon Brown an honorary doctorate in recognition and honor of his many contributions to the school in times of its need. Brown was scheduled originally to receive the honorary doctorate from Paine College during its May 2007 commencement.
During the 49th Annual Grammy Awards presentation held on February 11, 2007, James Brown's famous cape was draped over a microphone at the end of a montage in honor of notable persons in the music industry, including Brown, who died during the previous year. Earlier that evening, Christina Aguilera delivered an impassioned performance of one of Brown's hits, "It's a Man's Man's Man's World", while Chris Brown performed a dance routine in honor of James Brown.
As a tribute to James Brown, the Rolling Stones covered the song, "I'll Go Crazy" from Brown's Live at the Apollo album, during its 2007 European tour. On September 12, 2007, barely nine months after James Brown's death, Bobby Byrd, the original leader and founder of The Famous Flames vocal group along with Brown, died of cancer at 73 years old.
On December 22, 2007, the first annual "Tribute Fit For the King of King Records" in honor of James Brown was held at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky. The tribute, organized by Bootsy Collins, featured appearances by Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D of Public Enemy, The Soul Generals, Buckethead, Freekbass, Triage and many of Brown's surviving family members. Comedian Michael Coyer was the emcee for the event. During the show, the mayor of Cincinnati proclaimed December 22 as James Brown Day. It has been said that a biopic is in the works about the godfather himself Spike Lee has signed on to direct, Brian Grazer has signed on to produce with Jez and John-Henry Butterworth writing the script. Celebs like Usher (entertainer) and Fergie (singer) are interested in being in the project.
In addition, Brown's 1970 double album Sex Machine was ranked 96th in a 2005 survey held by British television station Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. Other notable albums, originally released as double LP records, feature extensive playing by The J.B.'s and served as prolific sources of samples for later musical artists, including:
The 1968 Live at the Apollo, Vol. II double LP album was notably influential on musicians at the time of its release. This classic album remains an example of Brown's energetic live performances and audience interaction, as well as providing a means of documenting the metamorphosis of his music from the R&B and soul styles into hard funk.